Why we’re all desperately waiting for you to stop complaining about work

 

Well, mostly because it’s annoying.

If you’re one of my Facebook friends, you get three complaints, then I unfollow you. I don’t need that kind of negativity in my life.

I’m not keeping an excel spreadsheet logged with your name and complaints, but if I see you complaining, and can’t remember the last nice thing you said – au revior!

Puppies, unicorns and rainbows – always welcome. So are memes that tell me how drinking wine every day is good for me and chocolate makes me smarter and more good looking.

 

Here’s the scripts running through my head while you’re whining about work:

  1. Just yesterday you said you loved your job – which is it?
  2. Are you being forced to work there? I didn’t think so. Do something else, or stop complaining.
  3. Is it really that bad? Find something you’re grateful for first. It might stop your complaining in its tracks.
  4. All the time you’re spending complaining could be spent doing something productive. Or the exact thing you’re complaining about – hop to it!
  5. I’m trying to stay positive, and your negative thoughts are ruining my juju.
  6. I just want you to be happy – really, I do. Can I help?
  7. Because you’re not good at it anyway, go do something you’re good at.
  8. Because we know that there’s power in acceptance. Can you find just a smidge of love in what you’re doing right now? It’ll make every day better – promise. Cross my heart.
  9. They’re paying you right? That money is supporting you, your dreams, even if you’re using that money to build another dream. Either way – you’re supported.
  10. Gratitude creates more reasons to be grateful and what we focus on expands.
  11. How do you want to feel at work? Create the experience you want to experience.
  12. Want some help with your resume? Just ask.
  13. Womp, womp, womp, womp … what was that? You lost me at, “UGH!”

 

Hate your job?

Do you really?

I mean, really hate it.

Can you find just three good things about your job?

Maybe it’s as simple as:

  • I get paid
  • I talk to grown ups
  • We have Starbucks in the building

 

Focus on what’s working. Gratitude begets gratitude, and joy expands. If you can find a few things to be happy about, focus on those. Then multiply them.

Maybe you hate what you’re doing – but you met some really cool people and learned some great skills that will make your resume sparkle.

Or maybe you love that you get to leave work at work, and never take it home with you, or it allows you the freedom to buy a latte every day, buy a new car every three years, flexible working hours, and cake on your birthday.

Finding a few good things will make you feel happier, which will make you less of a jerk to be around. Less of a jerk = more friends = people are happier to be around you = better work day = job doesn’t suck so bad.

If you simply cannot find a few redeeming qualities about your job, I’m guessing, they’re not forcing you to work there.

Yes, of course you can say, “But I need a job I can’t find another one.”

Is that true? Have you actually tried to find another job? How hard did you really look?

Even if you’ve been looking for three months or three years – you just haven’t found the right one yet. Hang on. Your dream job is there. Or you already have it – and you just haven’t realized it yet.

You have choices:

  1. Accept it
  2. Make it better
  3. Quit, and / or find another job
  4. Do nothing – many people forget; this is a choice.

 

What will you do today, instead of complaining about work?

 

 

Death upsets us because it reminds us of our own mortality

Photo courtesy of https://joaomalaquias.wordpress.com/

Photo courtesy of https://joaomalaquias.wordpress.com/

Driving into work on a sub-zero Monday morning preparing for a busy week – feeling a little groggy – so I treated myself to a hazelnut soy latte, (no foam, please) on my way in. I knew it was going to be a long week.

I had no idea.

It’s 7 am when I get to the office. I say good morning, plop my latte down and unpack my computer when my phone starts buzzing.

It’s my dad. He just called last night asking if we fixed the furnace. I figured he was calling again because he found a new reason why I should replace my furnace right now.

It had nothing to do with the furnace.

Hello?

Vovó died.

WHAT? I respond. Like I want him to say it again, but not really.

What happened? Is all I could muster – shocked and unprepared. I didn’t rehearse this one in my head yet.

See, she was healthy. She was 91. I feel incredibly lucky to have had a grandmother in my life as long as I did – and that my kids will remember their great grandmother.

Immediately, I felt the uncontrollable need to pack up my stuff, hop in the car and head straight there. Do not pass go, do not stop at the border – just go.

I didn’t quite do that – family, logistics, etc., but I did leave the next morning – packing up the kids and headed out for an eight-hour drive.

Sweetness

The kids experienced the death of two of their dogs, and one of their goldfish in the past year. So they’ve experienced some loss from death, however, this was the first family death we’ve experienced.

I had a lot of uncertainties.

Enter all the questions…

  • How do I tell them?
  • Will they get upset?
  • Should they come to the funeral?
  • Should they come to the viewing? What should we do at the viewing? Should I let them see her?

I trusted my gut and was open and honest about as much of the whole event as made sense.

When I came home from work and told the kids, they got upset.

Not because they were necessarily upset about their grandmother, but because it upset talking me to tell them about it.

Each kid handled the events of the next few days differently. Jacob – 7, kept his distance, asked a few questions. Talia – 4 was very curious and had many, many questions. At the viewing she wanted to go up and see her several times, touch her. She wanted me to touch her first. Which I don’t particularly feel the need to, but did it to show Talia it wasn’t scary.

I told the kids it’s not scary, and the body is just a shell. A former house for the soul.

 

A place where consciousness used to live.

 

It wasn’t until after we arrived home I had another perspective to think about. Ry talked to the kids about it again, echoing all the things they’ve heard from us over the past few days.

We discussed how people get sad and upset when people die. Then Ry said something that made me pause…

“People only get so upset when someone dies because it reminds them of their own mortality.”

It’s a reminder that we too, will all die.

I mean, of course I know I’ll die… in the future, elusive, “someday” when I’m 108, while drinking a glass of wine.

Of course, it could also be later today. Or next week. Or next month.

 

I got curious. Is that really why I was upset?

Was I upset because seeing death reminds me of my own – is this true? When someone dies we’re not sad for them. We’re sad for ourselves, we feel sad when we think about the loss of people closest to them.

SO…what happens when we’re reminded of our own mortality?

We realize it could be us. Any day. Any minute. The next inhale might not come.

We start questioning how we’re spending our time.

How we’re interacting with people.

How we’re harboring resentments, and hate…and for what?

How much time we’re spending with the people we love.

We didn’t make it up to visit the family, including vovó for Christmas this year – one of my favorite holidays with my grandparents growing up.

The thought entered my mind that I should have gone up for Christmas this year. I tried to regret it.

Something was pulling me there, that place of regret and resentment. Except I didn’t go there this time.

Would living with this regretful thought serve me? Would it change anything? Could I find a good reason to keep thinking this way?

NO – I couldn’t. So I let it go.

When we’re reminded of our own death we might say no to a project that doesn’t excite us. We’ll cuddle on the couch for an extra 30 minutes and let the dishes (the vacuuming, and the laundry) wait.

We’re kinder. We’re present. We live in the moment. What other way is there to live? Living in our pasts doesn’t serve us, and constantly worrying about what could have been or should have been doesn’t serve us.

I hesitated to write this initially. But I was curious to explore the thought.

I started to write my thoughts, then put this piece down. Then, earlier this week, when I got to work something went flying out of my purse – I looked around and couldn’t see what it was. Later when reaching for my hand cream to fix my dry, January hands, I noticed something shiny and gold. It was one off vovó’s pins. My uncle offered up some of her sweaters and coats to the family, and she had a pin on just about every sweater and jacket she owned.

I picked this piece of writing back up and committed to finishing it.

Memento mori.

Photo courtesy of https://joaomalaquias.wordpress.com

Photo courtesy of https://joaomalaquias.wordpress.com

 

I wish every day was like Christmas

ChristmasFeeling

 

I wish every day could be like this.

I wish every day was like Christmas.

Of course, I love the tree, cheese-ball songs, glitter, mulled wine and Starbucks red cups (which by the way, I loved the minimalist design this year – thank-you-very-much).

 

More than I actually love the things of Christmas…

 

I love the feelings these things bring.

 

And if that’s the case – well, why the hell can’t every day be like Christmas?

On a pragmatic level – keeping up the Elf on a Shelf and Santa business for more than a month is exhausting.

This year, our Elf, Chippy – only moved at 7am, and not the night before like she’s supposed to – hearing the kids get up to go elf-hunting was my trigger to move the elf. I streaked through the house too many times to note this year.

Also, she didn’t go back to the North Pole one Saturday night. The degenerate drank too much at a holiday party and thought she might have been roofied. Silly elf.

Also, if you sat around in you PJs and watched the kids open presents every day you’d be bored as shit – right?

Right.

 

Back to the feelings of Christmas.

How does Christmas feel?

 

A few days before Christmas I was worried we were all going to hate each other by the end of the week. So much together time with no schedule, plenty of junk food, trying to get everything done in time, and feeling sad for not being home with the rest of my family for Christmas.

I’m worried we’re all going to hate each other by the end of the week.

 

See, with this thought I was setting myself up for a shit time. As soon as those words left my mouth I knew I had to shift my shit (thanks Al & Stef), and tell a different story.

A better story.

A story that would make me feel good.

This was my new and improved pre-Christmas story –

I’m looking forward to all the great times we’re going to spend together over Christmas. I’m excited for warm hugs, lots of excitement and cuddles and enjoying the magic of the season with my family.

Then, I told myself the story as if it already happened in a journal entry…

Christmas was SO AMAZING, we had such a great time. I loved every minute of the time we spent together. We relaxed, the kids were over the moon excited and grateful for all their gifts, the day was unrushed and perfect. Everyone was happy, calm, and peaceful.

 

Just telling this story made me feel good, and energized me to move forward.

 

 

What would your life be like if you could tell a story like this one every single day?

How would you feel?

This friends, is the building block of an amazing life.

One that feels like Christmas every damn day of the year.

How do you want to feel today? Right now? Next week? This year?

It’s more than just the cliché of finding the silver lining in every dark cloud – It’s seeking out the story that will make you feel the best and deliberately choosing those thoughts.

 

Effectively, writing your life story.

 

“Write it on your heart that every day is the best day of the year.” Ralph Waldo Emerson

 

Want more?
– Does writing letters to people you care about make you feel good? Try this.

– Or how about some un-random acts of kindness?

– Looking to create your 2016 reading list? 

 

 

My favorite books of 2015

Reading

 

A few years ago I read the book Think: Straight Talk for Women to Stay Smart in a Dumbed-Down World by Lisa Bloom. Here’s the gist – (and I paraphrase because it was forever ago); put down the smut, it’s making you stupid and you should read more books. Make the time. Carve out the time. Read more. Read anything. Read everything. Hire help so you can read more.

So this is what I did. I read all the time. I read at work. I read and write and edit all day long. When I’m not reading for work, I read for fun. With the exception of Gray’s Anatomy, House Hunters International and whatever documentary is on Netflix – I don’t watch TV.

A good friend of mine had a goal of reading 52 books in 52 weeks this year (she did it!). When I heard about this I got curious how many books I plowed through this year. Thanks to Goodreads, my library account, Amazon and Audible, compiling my list was pretty easy.

40 books.

I’m reluctantly sharing my list with you today.

I say reluctantly because there’s a shit-ton (approximation) of self-help books in here (and one really, really dirty one) –  I mean my first thought is what the fuck…why am I reading so much self-help?

But my second thought, and the one I’m running with, is whatever – I’m better and smarter than I was last year, and I’m winning at life, so I don’t care about what anyone thinks.

Also, at least half of my reading is in the form of audio books. Love love love Audible.com. I listen in the car during the two hours I spend sitting in it each day. I’m totally not complaining either – LOVE my car time. No kids, quiet, a good book streaming in my ear. I take the slow lane on purpose.

I also started a dozen or so books that I didn’t finish. Life is too short to waste time on books that don’t light your fire – these aren’t listed here.

For fun, I’ve separated them into categories you won’t find at any bookstore, and included what I’d say if I was handing you this book. (There’s also a whole lotta affiliate links in here. That means if you click a link that takes you to Amazon, and you end up buying something. I get like .08 cents to go towards…more books!)

Enjoy. I hope you find a few good reads here.

Books I’d shove in your face if you came over for dinner, saying, “You have to read this!”

  1. Year of Yes: How to Dance It Out, Stand In the Sun and Be Your Own Person, Shonda Rhimes – This book was so fun, so many AHA moments, and I hear Shonda coming through in all her characters. Definitely listen to this on audio!
  2. Yes Please, Amy Poehler – You need to listen to this book.
  3. Rousey: My Fight / Your Fight, Ronda Rousey – holy shit, I’m the biggest wuss in the world, I’m never complaining again.
  4. Big Magic: Creative Living Beyond Fear, Elizabeth Gilbert – she says it’s cool for you to draw a penis on the wall if that’s what you want to do. Go draw a penis.
  5. Rising Strong, Brené Brown – Love me some Brené, with her fancy accent aigu in her name. My favorite of all her books. AHAs all over the place.
  6. The Life-Changing Magic of Tidying Up, Marie Kondo – Throw all your crap out and improve your life x1000.
  7. Elite Minds: Creating the Competitive Advantage, Stan Beecham – If you have kids, or are a coach you need to read this. Or if you just want to be the best.
  8. MONEY Master the Game: 7 Simple Steps to Financial Freedom, Tony Robbins – If you can get past the infomercial title – money talk just scratches the surface. This is also a self-help book.
  9. Die Empty: Unleash Your Best Work Every Day, Todd Henry – Do you want to die with your best work stuck inside of you like a big green snot?
  10. The Crossroads of Should and Must: Find and Follow Your Passion, Elle Luna – Disclaimer: you might quit your job after reading. I’m not responsible.
  11. The Art of Asking; or, How I Learned to Stop Worrying and Let People Help, Amanda Palmer – Definitely audio this. Even if her music is not your jam (it’s not mine), you’ll laugh and cry – and just take the fucking donut.
  12. A New Earth: Awakening to Your Life’s Purpose, Eckhart Tolle – Not for the woo woo faint of heart. You’ll say, “WTF” to yourself at least a dozen times. This is my FOURTH time listening to this book, and I’ll definitely listen again.
  13. The Writer’s Life: Insights from The Right to Write, Julia Cameron – It’s time for me to stop reading about writing and just write already.
  14. Priest: A Love Story, Sierra Simone – Don’t tell anyone I gave this to you. It’s dirty dirty dirty! If you grew up Catholic, this book might have a special place in your,…. er…heart.

Fiction books – (yes this is a tiny list, but mighty)

  1. Rules of Civility, Amor Towles – Fun and fancy.
  2. Ready Player One, Ernest Cline – I don’t like video games but was in love with this book.
  3. The Rosie Project, Graeme Simsion – Charming and so so funny!

Books you’ll find in my bathroom. One page at a time.

  1. The Grammar Devotional, Mignon Fogarty – Write gooder.
  2. Miracles Now: 108 Life-Changing Tools for Less Stress, More Flow, and Finding Your True Purpose, Gabrielle Bernstein – I do believe in spooks, I do, I do, I do believe in spooks.
  3. Comfortable with Uncertainty: 108 Teachings on Cultivating Fearlessness and Compassion, Pema Chodron – Time to get comfortable with being uncomfortable.

Other books I enjoyed and will gladly hand over to you.

  1. The Willpower Instinct: How Self-Control Works, Why It Matters, and What You Can Do to Get More of It, Kelly McGonigal – It doesn’t need to be hard.
  2. Mindless Eating: Why We Eat More Than We Think, Brian Wansink – The best diet is the one you don’t know you’re on.
  3. Transformational Speaking, Gail Larsen – Learn to speak gooder.
  4. Body of Work: Finding the Thread That Ties Your Story Together, Pamela Slim – What’s the common thread of all this work?
  5. Purple Cow: Transform Your Business by Being Remarkable, Seth Godin – Stop trying to be like everyone else.
  6. Predictably Irrational: The Hidden Forces That Shape Our Decisions, Dan Ariely – YES! We’re all irrational!
  7. Small Giants: Companies That Choose to Be Great Instead of Big, Bo Burlingham – Some big ass companies doing cool shit.
  8. Out of Control: Why Disciplining Your Child Doesn’t Work and What Will, Shefali Tsabary ­– So what’s the natural consequence for not doing your homework? You’ll also stop reading parenting books after this.
  9. Less: Accomplishing More by Doing Less, Marc Lesser – Title says it all. Simplicity is sexy.
  10. Everybody Writes: Your Go-To Guide to Creating Ridiculously Good Content, Anne Handley – If you write stuff – read this.
  11. Homeschooling Essentials: A Practical Guide to Getting Started, Dianna Broughton – We considered homeschooling. Then realized I’d have to be with the kids all day.
  12. Tibetan Peach Pie: A True Account of an Imaginative Life, Tom Robbins – Weird and wonderful.
  13. Vagabonding: An Uncommon Guide to the Art of Long-Term World Travel, Rolf Potts – I’m selling all my shit to travel the world. Bye.
  14. The Creative Habit: Learn It and Use It for Life, Twyla Tharp – Keep making stuff.
  15. Abundance: The Future Is Better Than You Think, Peter H. Diamandis – My future’s so bright, I gotta wear shades.
  16. The Prosperous Heart: Creating a Life of “Enough”, Julia Cameron – I’m rich.
  17. How to Be Parisian Wherever You Are: Love, Style, and Bad Habits, Anne Berest – I’m moving to Paris – for real this time.
  18. Grain Brain: The Surprising Truth about Wheat, Carbs, and Sugar–Your Brain’s Silent Killers, David Perlmutter – This just makes me feel better for going gluten-free. Apparently I’m smarter – do you think so?
  19. The Charisma Myth: How Anyone Can Master the Art and Science of Personal Magnetism, Olivia Fox Cabane – Maybe she’s not born with it.
  20. Quiet: The Power of Introverts in a World That Can’t Stop Talking, Susan Cain – This open space office isn’t working for me. I’ll be in the corner, with headphones on, pretending to be really, really busy.

When I wasn’t reading this year, I was writing. I wouldn’t have written this if I didn’t read so much.

Finally, my little book: Unfussy Mom: simplifying your life, staying [mostly] sane and working like a boss, by ME – Read this one on the toilet. Then get your spanxed ass to work, you’re going to be late.

unfussy_mom_cover

Dietitian-approved dinners for busy people

You guys. Today my friend, Taylor Wolfram who also happens to be a Registered Dietitian put together some unfussy-mom approved dinner ideas.

This looks like the dinner rotation in our house. As a full time working mom, who blogs for a few outlets, writes books for fun, and does PTO duty – if I have time to eat like this, you have time to eat like this too.

While we’d all love to spend half of our Sunday thoughtfully crafting a weekly menu, developing a grocery list, going shopping, and preparing perfectly portioned meals for our families for the week ahead – this is sometimes next to impossible.

Life is crazy. Schedules are jam-packed. And sometimes we just have other priorities that take over meal planning and prepping. And that’s OK. You have a life.

The key to getting a nutritious dinner on the table fast isn’t about always having your meals prepped ahead of time, it’s about having the right ingredients on hand.

Consider these five basic meals, the ingredients they incorporate, and how you can best stock your fridge and pantry to supply you with an arsenal of nutritious foods to whip up delicious dinners on the fly.

Tacos or Burritos

One of the best things about this tacos or burritos is they’re customizable for choosy eaters, very affordable, and perfect for leftovers. Oh, and everyone loves it.

Key ingredients: whole-grain tortillas (corn or whole-wheat, brown rice, etc.), beans (canned or cooked from dried ahead of time and frozen), veggies (fresh or frozen). Fresh toppings such as avocado, cilantro, and tomatoes.

Most of these ingredients you likely already keep on hand, and you can use the perishable produce items for meals other than just tacos, so even if you buy them every week, they won’t go to waste. I keep my corn tortillas in the freezer so they keep longer. They thaw in a pinch.

Pasta & Salad

Always keep at least one package of whole-grain pasta in your pantry for a quick weeknight dinner. If you want to make sauce from scratch ahead of time and freeze it, gold star for you. Otherwise jarred varieties are just fine—just watch for added sugars. Or, forget the sauce and go with olive oil, garlic and fresh tomatoes. Canned diced tomatoes work great too.

In addition, buying a giant bin of spinach and 3-pack of romaine is a great way to keep salad greens on hand throughout the week. Toss in some chickpeas, any crunchy veggies you have on hand and a pre-made or homemade dressing (never underestimate simple oil, vinegar, salt and pepper) and you’re good to go.

Chili & Cornbread

Contrary to popular belief, chili doesn’t have to simmer all day in a slow cooker. By using canned beans and veggies from your pantry, you can have a delicious chili on the table in a flash.

Simply combine your preference of beans, canned diced tomatoes, perhaps some canned corn and chili spices (chili powder, cumin, etc.) in a medium saucepan on the stove and heat for about 20 minutes. I like to simmer onion and garlic in olive oil before adding the canned goodies to the pan for extra flavor.

You can also whip up homemade cornbread using whole-grain flour, corn meal and non-dairy milk (no eggs or egg replacer needed). I like this this recipe (subbing in whole-wheat flour). Pop this in before you start making your chili and everything will be ready at about the same time.

Buddha Bowl

Call it what you want, many families have one of these “bowls” in their go-to dinner depot. The trick is, there is no trick. There’s no recipe and no magic ingredient.

The key is in the components: whole grain, lean protein, and veggies. My favorite bowl has quinoa, blackened tofu and kale. You could also toss some chickpeas, squash and mushrooms onto a fluffy bed of whole-wheat couscous. Or tofu sautéed in sesame oil with bok choy over brown rice topped with lots of cilantro. Whatever your heart desires (or whatever your fridge contains).

You could up the yumminess factor by slathering your bowl in a homemade sauce. Try a green sauce by blending up fresh herbs with a little water, olive oil, salt and pepper (add some hot pepper for a kick).

Craving something creamy? Mix hummus or tahini with lemon juice, water and some sesame or olive oil if you’d like. One of my favorites is peanut sauce, made easily with peanut butter and other ingredients you probably already have in your pantry or refrigerator.

Breakfast for Dinner

A kid favorite! And I don’t mean setting out the cereal boxes and calling it a night. A quick and nutritious breakfast for dinner spread is a veggie-loaded tofu scramble with whole-grain toast. You should always have colorful produce (fresh or frozen), a block of tofu and 100% whole-grain bread on hand (EASY).

Top toast with peanut butter and banana slices for those who need the extra calories, such as growing teenagers and active adults.

Serve with fresh fruit for dessert. Or blend up frozen fruit and almond milk for a drinkable sweet treat!


Here’s a quick list of food to keep on hand so you can quickly prepare these 5 easy weeknight dinners:

  • Fresh and frozen vegetables
  • Fresh herbs, if desired for toppings and sauces
  • Fresh and frozen fruit
  • Tofu
  • Canned or cooked-from-dried beans
  • Whole grains such as quinoa and brown rice
  • Whole-grain tortillas
  • Whole-grain bread
  • Whole-grain flour
  • Non-dairy milk
  • Olive oil
  • Vinegar

 

Bio:

 

TaylorWolfram

Taylor Wolfram, MS, RDN, LDN is a vegan registered dietitian nutritionist based in Chicago, Illinois. She uses a total mind + body approach to health and wellness including nutrition, fitness and mindfulness. You can read more from Taylor at her blog Whole Green Wellness and also World of Vegan. Connect with her on TwitterInstagramFacebook and Pinterest.

 

 

10 things to say to your kid after sports

AfterSports

“Good game buddy!” I say excitedly as I tap J on his helmet as he skates off the ice.

He sits on the bench and I strip him of his sweaty, smelly, cold and wet pads and I’ve got nothing else to say.

I also got sick of hearing myself say the same thing after every game and every practice.

I’d listen to what other parents were saying to their kids. What I heard made me sad.

I heard parents yelling, “Be aggressive!” to their 7 year old.

Or, “What were you doing out there?”

Or, “If you don’t give it your all, we’re going to quit.”

Or, “I’m paying a lot of money for this, so you’re going out there, and you’re going to try.”

I wish I could tell you that I’ve never said anything like this. Until I heard someone else say it though, it didn’t feel as UCK.

Now, determined to make every aspect of every sport positive, I’m making a conscious effort to start mixing it up and try saying things he might need to hear in the moment. And most importantly, keeping it upwardly focused and fun.

Here’s 10 things to say once you’ve patted your little sportsman/woman on butt and said, “Good game!”

  1. I had fun watching you today.
  2. I feel so proud watching you out there.
  3. I’m so lucky you’re my son / daughter.
  4. Did you have fun?
  5. How did it feel out there today?
  6. I can’t believe how far you’ve come since you started!
  7. Can you show me that [amazing move] later?
  8. Watching you play [sport] is my favorite thing to do!
  9. What was your favorite part about today?
  10. What did you notice from your team mates?

See what kind of stuff comes up when you’re talking.  And please, please make sure your’re not staring at your phone.

Idol

Idol

Today, I have a very special guest post. This weekend, Jacob played in his first hockey tournament, 8 weeks after trying goalie pads on for the very first time. I’m so proud of him I could explode.

It was exhausting, exhilarating, and extraordinarily stinky (read on for why – I’m not just talking about sweat here friends).

 

Ry sent me the following in an email that I read the next morning. I cried. I had to share it. I think this will resonate with you too.

 

I’m sharing it here with his permission. He’s a much better writer than me. I’m always telling him he needs to write a blog, write a book, just write. Then I realized – it’s not my job to write well – it’s my job to just write.

 

I tell stories.

 

Here’s Ryan’s story (with very little copy editing from me) about the lessons our kids are here to teach us.

Enjoy.

 

My uncommon IDOL.  

This weekend was a change of pace for the family, and this disruption in addition to causing extreme exhaustion also caused some disruptive reflection.

I’m not a person who really idolizes people—I don’t believe being or emulating someone else will in any way be advantageous to my state-of-mind, or make me a better person, but today it became quite obvious.

I do, I should and I hope I will…

 

Be more like my SON.  

 

Jacob just played 16 (SIXTEEN!) games over two days, helped two teams realize championship outcomes, playing a position he just started not much more than 8 weeks ago, and he did it like a boss.

He never complained, 8 plus hours of hockey and not once did he say I’m tired, I’m hungry, this hurts, I can’t, I won’t, I don’t want to. He celebrates every victory his teams achieved, and he doesn’t dwell on the disappointments.

 

My son is HUMBLE, he received more than his fair share of compliments over the weekend and he accepts each and every one of them with a simple down-gazed smile from what I presume is his own discomfort with being singled out in an unsolicited manner.

 

My son knows how to LISTEN, I mean really listen and to observe the lesson. He was given advice by the guest teams’ Coach, and immediately tries the advice, or repeats the lesson told.

 

My son understands VALUE, at the conclusion of the 2nd place Silver Mites victory, the team he was guest goal-tending for presented him with a puck (the sole recipient), he smiled politely and again— brief eye gaze and then down to his skates.

When we got home I explained that his plastic and marble trophies are just reminders of instances of a job well done, but the puck—that’s the trophy that means something. It’s the one he was given for being there for others, and giving it his all— he immediately got it and promptly relayed this tidbit to his sister.

 

My son is TENACIOUS, giving it his all this weekend meant pissing his pants during one of his back-to-back to back games because he didn’t want to get off the ice and allow his team to be scored on, that is some hard-core shit.

(This deserves repeating:)

He peed his pants because he didn’t want to leave the net and let his team down.

My son is pleased with SIMPLICITY. I told Jacob I would give him a dollar for every save over the weekend and I now realize he placated my external stimulus attempt. He did everything anyone asked of him, was elated to get his tokens of appreciated and when we got home I gave him 30 bucks (I’m certain there were more saves but it was all I had).

My wife found that 30 dollars on the floor an hour later—he never put it in his bank, he just put it aside and forgot about it, in favor of some Xbox play time I promised him when we got home, on a game that he bought for himself. A game by the way I told him I’d split 50/50, but he still brought me the full price when I told him to pony up his share.

My son is the most HONEST person I know; in fact, I think he may be biologically incapable of lying.

 

My son is DETERMINED to excel in everything he does, including academics which he proves every test, every quiz, and every book on hockey he consumes.

 

My son is a BELIEVER. He believes people are kind, that the dark is scary, that Santa is real, that God made a lot of shit, that elf-on-the-shelf really leaves him and Talia notes, and that he can be awesome at anything he wants to do. He lives with one of the most cynical, jaded, angry, and foul-mouthed people I’m sure he knows, and he doesn’t lose his FAITH.

He doesn’t express the anger, he doesn’t discourage himself to failure, he doesn’t quit, he sees our differences (him and I), and he chooses his.

 

My son is SELFLESS, since I’m pondering my son’s qualities that I admire, it reminded me of a story Jacq told me when they visited me at work in Chicago this past year.

They were walking around the Magnificent Mile (you know that commercial hell-hole for the haves to buy shit they don’t need) and Jacob passed a homeless guy and expressed his concern for this guy needing some money and asked Jacq if he could give him some. After gaining approval, he didn’t give him his loose change but rather, he gave him $5 – all he had in his pocket, but also a disproportionate share of his savings, and he did it without compliant, and without asking for reimbursement at the next available opportunity.

Dogs

My son is LOVING, with every ounce of his being, the seasons, his sport, his family, his pets, not with the cynical tit-for-tat, quid pro quo kind of adult way – but the innocent cry for his two dogs that passed away months and months ago out of the blue kind of way. The way that really hurts, that seems like it means everything, not the kind that we attach artificial value and theatrics to, in order to gain some attention or achieve some temporary artificial gains.

 

My rambling doesn’t adequately express my admiration, my respect, my pride, my joy, and the love that I have for my son.

He is my IDOL, and I hope that over time, I can be more like him, and he will continue to be less like me.

 

When I shut my laptop, went into the bathroom and cried

Gymnastics

J has some kind of hockey event at least three times a week. Since T was born, being the younger sibling, she’s gets dragged around to all of J’s events – soccer, karate, and hockey.

We didn’t worry about it too much initially. We chalked it up to being an unavoidable symptom of being the younger sibling. It’s either that, or Ry and I would be in separate places taking the kids to their respective activities or hiring someone to shuttle the kids their events.

Out of convenience, T does gymnastics in the same building as J’s hockey. Practice is usually at 4pm. Well before the end of the standard work day, and often before I’m actually done work for the day.

On this particular day I was juggling way too many things. I was on a conference call, getting J’s goalie pads on, and getting T dressed and ready for gymnastics.

As soon as we arrived at the arena she fell apart. “I want fries and ketchup”. She moaned like a starving child. Though she just had snacks in the car on the way over.

No – you start in 5 minutes, there’s not enough time and I don’t have money today”. I quickly snapped. She broke into tears. I ignored her while I continued wrestling with smelly hockey pads.

She was still crying when I brought her to her gymnastics coach. I handed her red, wet-faced little body to the instructor and explained she was just mad at me for not letting her have another snack and made a mad dash back to getting J ready.

Five minutes later J was dressed and on the ice, and I popped open my laptop to get an hour of work in with no interruptions. I’d peek in on the kids a few times over the hour because I like seeing them rocking it out and to make sure they know I’m there.

Before I even opened Outlook, the gymnastics teacher came up and handed T over like a sack of rotten potatoes, “Hi Mom, Talia isn’t participating today and is just following me around. She did this last week too. I have too many kids to watch to hold her hand during the whole class. I’m really sorry.” She made a sad face and walked away.

Shit.

My gut reaction was to fire back, “Well what am I paying you for? Bring her ass back out there!”

Instead I shut up and sat her beside me. Just staring at her, not sure what to do next. Hoping for some divine intervention from the parenting gods telling me what to do.

I asked her why she wasn’t doing gymnastics. No answer.

Do you want to quit?” I asked.

Nothing.
I asked her a few more times, and eventually she said, “Yes. I want to do what you said.” (Meaning quitting).

Without a fuss, I picked her up, took her over to the info desk and said we’re canceling because she doesn’t want to do it anymore. Done. I wasn’t going to force her.

I sat back down with T and she started whining for snacks again. “No snacking!” I told her – “You should be in gymnastics. I’m not here to play. You can go back in there and we can play after.”

One of the workers then came over to me and suggested I stay in class with her. I asked T if this is what she wanted, and she excitedly nodded.

Closed my laptop, took her hand and walked out onto the gym floor.

She was practically bouncing. (She was also literally bouncing because she was on a trampoline.)

Every three seconds she looked at me yelling, “Hi mommy!” waving her little hand off.

She went through class asking her if I was going to watch every single activity. I said yes.

 

It smacked me right in the face.

 

She’s had enough of being carted around to J’s activities. She has also had enough of me sitting in the lobby and working instead of watching and waving.

I felt like a huge asshat.

After a few handstands and bridges, she had to pee.

I took her into the bathroom, sat her on the big toilet and crouched down in front of her.

We locked eyes.

We were just staring at each other. No words.

I asked her, “Does it make you sad when I’m not watching you do gymnastics?

Yes.” She answered flatly.

Then I started to cry.

As her lower lip quivered, she asked, “What’s wrong mommy?”

“I’m sorry.”

“For what?”

“For not watching you in gymnastics. I’m so sorry. I’m going to watch you every time. Do you forgive me?”

“No.”

Me with a shocked look on my face…what? You don’t forgive me?

“What does forgive mean?”

“It means that even though I did something bad, it means you can forget about it and still love me.”

“I forgive you.”

I hugged her little body so tight exploding with gratitude. I’m so lucky I have you.

Let’s get back out there.

 

I can’t do it all

I had yet another reminder. This one was a smack in the face. Another example of me trying to do it all, even though I know I can’t. I need constant reminders that I can’t really have it all [whatever all means anyway] – nor should I try.

Today’s lesson, was if I’m going to show up, just fucking show up. Put the distractions away and be there.

Even if I find it boring to watch half a dozen preschoolers picking wedgies while they do summersaults and bounce around. I’m going to do it.

 

How to have a conversation with your kids about work

 


Jacqueline_Fisch_Working

 

At the end of every day, [if you have a soul], you’re asking your kids how their day was.

My usual run of questions looks something like this;

“What did you do at school today?”

“What was your favorite part of the day?”

“What was the coolest thing you did today?”

On a chatty day, I’ll get answers to all of these. On a meh day, I get the standard answer, “fine”.

 

One day, the tables turned, and I was a little stunned at first.

I heard a little voice saying to me,

“Mommy, how was your day?”

“What did you do today?”

Oh, cool! My son wants to know about my day! What a sweet little boy.

Wait.

What does he want?

Is he going to ask me to be a goalie again?

Shut up Jacq, just answer the questions.

“I worked today.” I answer.

“What does that mean?” He probes.

Oh, he wants more….

“I wrote bunch of stuff, and people liked it. I also made a presentation and went to some meetings and talked to people.”

Jacob, “Oh.”

Working_Mom

Now, I offer details about my working mom day right after I’m done with my rapid-fire with the kids’ day.

Even if it seems like they’re ignoring me at first, I know they’re listening.

How do I know? Because they ask me questions about it.

They care.

They validated my existence.

When you’re done asking your kids how their day at school was, why not offer some details about your own day?

Complaining is not a conversation

If you come home from work, complaining about how exhausted you are, how big of an asshole your boss is, and how Debbie drama is stirring shit up at the water cooler – what are you teaching them?

You might be teaching them not to have a job – which is fine too – what if they don’t want a job, and you want them to blaze their own trail? Cool.

Do you work in IT and would never wish the horrors of the corporate world on your kids? Think complaining about it will stop them? Probably not. They might end up just like you.

Do you want your daughter to come home from work at the end of the day exhausted, hating her life, and carelessly throwing a frozen meal into the microwave because she is just SO DONE?

The little people are watching. They’re also ready to listen if you’re talking.

 

Ready to start blabbing about your day?

Here’s some easy ways to talk about your work to kids:

  1. Talk about it in a positive way
  2. If something was shitty today, tell them what was shitty [replace “shitty” with “poopy” if you wish], and how it made you feel – and what you’re going to do about it. Show them you’re a problem solver, that shit [poop] happens sometimes, and that you can handle it—LIKE A BOSS.
  3. Show them something you made or did at work. I show my kids PowerPoint presentations all the time. They look at it like, “Wow, that’s boring mom.” But if I talk about it with an ounce of enthusiasm and tell them what happened because of it – I made the client happy, everyone loved it, or I got a standing ovation [totally making this up, I’ve never had this happen], they’ll be excited too.
  4. A funny video or story you laughed about with your coworkers
  5. Show them a photo of their pictures or drawings decorating your desk at your work. Make sure you tell them about all the nice compliments people offered about their stuff too.
  6. Bring them to work! If you can of course – take them to your work, show them around, introduce them to people, show them what a day in the life of you is like. Show them where you eat lunch and where you get your coffee. I brought my kids to the office one day and once they got over the elevator ride to the 53rd floor, they were wowed by the view and the office, the abundance of snacks and the pop stocked in the fridge.
  7. How what you did at work today is making a difference in someone else’s life
  8. Your biggest win of the day
  9. Play the two truths and a lie game
  10. What you’re excited to tackle tomorrow.

 

Your kids will see that there’s more to you than the one who wipes boogers, makes PB&J sandwiches, and tells them how much time of whatever they’re doing they have left.

You’re a multi-faced woman, you’re passionate, and you can kill it at soccer coaching and PTO-ing the shit poop out of those snack nights.

 

 

The 2-step quick & dirty way to make a decision

Photo courtesy of https://joaomalaquias.wordpress.com/

Photo courtesy of https://joaomalaquias.wordpress.com/

What do you do when you have a tricky decision to make? Do you flip a coin? Do the first thing that comes to mind? Ask a trusted friend and do whatever they say?

Do nothing?

Do you find yourself caught up in decision paralysis so often you end up taking no action? Nada. Zilch.

Doing nothing IS a decision.

The old story I used to tell myself: I’m indecisive. Don’t ask me to make a decision, can you just make my life easier and make a decision for me?

This is what decision-making used to look like for me:

What do you want for lunch? Oh whatever.

Chocolate with sea salt or dried cherries? I can’t decide, I’ll have both.

Quit a soul-sucking job that was laying people off by the hundreds? Naw, I’ll just hang out and look for something else until I get shit-canned.

              When’s the right time to have kids? Meh, I’ll just toss the pill and see what happens.

              Do you want me to drive to the party? Oh whatever, you decide.

What the fuck?

There’s controlling what you can, then there’s throwing all your control out the window and letting the universe completely decide.

Now, don’t get me wrong. I’m a control freak, but also a huge people pleaser. I want to make everyone happy. Don’t rock the boat, don’t make waves.

But I was potentially compromising myself, and not getting exactly what I wanted. Why shouldn’t I ask for what I want? If I get it, cool. If something else shows up, it’s probably what the universe thought was best for me.

Thank you.

I’m getting better at making decisions. Decisions that don’t involve “doing nothing”.

I’ve tested this decision-making process on a bunch of decisions over the past few months:

  • When deciding if I should shell out $400 for a ticket to a tiny book making workshop in Portland, Oregon. On top of the $400 I’d have to buy a flight, stay in a hotel, food, the guilt of leaving Ry with the kids for the weekend, and knowing about the overwhelm that would await me when I returned with undone laundry, a messy house, and no food cooked ahead for the week. Was it all going to be worth it?
  • As I neared finalizing the edits on my book, I was planning on putting it up for sale on my website. I considered putting it on Amazon, but this freaked me out. What if no one buys it? What if it’s ranked DEAD last? What if people hate it? If they hate it and I sell it on Amazon, people will say so – publicly! What if they hate me? If I launched it on my website, I’d have no way for people to share their opinion publicly. Sure, they could email me and tell me they hated it, but who really does that?
  • Should I join the PTO?
  • Should I quit Twitter?
  • Should I quit Instagram?
  • Should I drink less wine?

 

I realize many of these decisions might sound super trivial and not all that life altering. You’re right – they’re not. But over the course of a lifetime, all these small decisions we make add up to a lifetime.

Your lifetime.

I found a trick that works for me, maybe it’ll work for you too.

I suggest you practice it all the time. Practice it with decisions like, should I have a burger or a salad for dinner tonight? Should I have tea or a soy latte? Should I go to happy hour tonight?

 

Quick & Dirty Process

As you practice making these quick and dirty decisions, you’ll get in the habit of making decisions faster.

  1. Take whatever you’re trying to decide. Pretend with every ounce of your being that you said YES.
  2. You just said yes. How do you feel? Listen to the first things that pop into your head and the clues that pop up in your body
    • Feel suddenly resentful? Maybe you’d better say NO to this one.
    • Feeling stupendously excited and thinking about what you get to do next? Good call.
    • Is your body saying “UGH”, do you feel deflated? You might be better off with a NO.
    • Want to race to call your BFF? Probably a YES.

Yes, it’s two steps, and as promised, quick and dirty. The more you tune into what’s happening in your body, the easier making decisions will become for you.

Way more fun than making a list of pros and cons right???